After spending his 50th consecutive Christmas behind bars, serial killer Robert Mawdsley continues to be locked up in the UK penal system. Known as Hannibal the Cannibal, Mawdsley was separated from other prisoners in 1978 after killing three inmates. The 70-year-old has been in solitary confinement at Wakefield prison in West Yorkshire for 45 years, which is believed to be a world record.
Mawdsley, who was locked up for murder in 1974 at the age of 21, was given special provisions at Wakefield prison. His cell, described as a glass cage in the cellar, includes bulletproof windows and a concrete slab for a bed. Despite his heinous crimes, former detective Paul Harrison, who specialized in interviewing mass murderers, described Mawdsley as a surprisingly intelligent and unassuming individual.
Mawdsley’s violent tendencies can be traced back to a difficult childhood in Liverpool, where he later fled to London and resorted to prostitution. In 1977, while at Broadmoor high-security hospital in Berkshire, he took a fellow inmate hostage, tortured, and ultimately stabbed him to death with a cut-down plastic spoon. This act earned him the nickname Hannibal the Cannibal, reminiscent of the notorious killer depicted by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 film “The Silence of the Lambs.”
The Ministry of Justice has not disclosed the current location of Mawdsley, and they maintain the stance that there is “no such thing as solitary confinement” within the prison system. According to a spokesperson, certain offenders may be segregated if they pose a risk to others, but they are still entitled to the same basic privileges as other inmates, such as outdoor time, visitation, phone calls, and access to legal and medical assistance.